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The Bingo Palace

(Love Medicine)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,109 ratings  ·  161 reviews
At a crossroads in his life, Lipsha Morrissey is summoned by his grandmother to return to the reservation. There, he falls in love for the very first time--with the beautiful Shawnee Ray, who's already considering a marriage proposal from Lipsha's wealthy entrepreneurial boss, Lyman Lamartine. But when all efforts to win Shwawnee's affections go hopelessly awry, Lipsha see ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1994)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,109 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gina by: Rachel...from whom I swiped it.

Okay no more shouting Alleluias in bold face: let's get down to work: I follow the dictums given to my students eons ago to decipher the novel's meaning. We deconstruct according to five topics:

SETTING: We are somewhere in and around The Dakotas. Fargo is mentioned but the setting becomes very "Pan's Lab
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors, hands down. She is a slow read for me, but that doesn't detract from my love for her. Her writing is not for everyone--her stories are told in a very non-linear way. But y'know, I like that. It takes me a long time to read & a bit longer to process, but I like that. Erdrich's writing makes me think & it makes me feel. It might be different to read a non-linear storyline, but it feels very reminiscent of a normal human thought process. Not to ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I may not have been fully engaged with the story the entire time but I still really enjoy Erdrich's writing so still a 4 star.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Lipsha Morrissey is probably the least likely of all central characters. He is a ne'er-do-well extraordinaire. He sweeps the floors at the bingo palace and is sometime night watchman. But he loves Shawnee Ray Toose and we cannot help but feel for him. Not sorry for him, but want him to find a way to make a life with her. But she's not having anything to do with him - he is a Morrissey for one thing.

The Bingo Palace is so much more than this love story, it's impossible to put into wor
Rena Jane
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This will go down as one of my favorite books by Louise Erdrich, but it's part of a trilogy, and its so long since I read the first two, that now I want to go back and read them, and put it into context.

Sometimes Erdrich's cultural perspective to keep the story cyclical loses me at the end of her books, but this one made perfect sense. And the strength and determination of absolute, all-encompassing love is beautifully demonstrated in Lipshaw's mother and father, as well as in his own life. Fle
Brittany Wilmes
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
OK, so I didn't start in the best place when choosing an introduction to Erdrich, but it was her only tome on the shelves of my local library. Erdrich's writing is lovely and generous and wild, evoking a people and a way of living that I can only wistfully imagine. I loved her characters' stubborn faults, their ability to imagine and strive and stumble within their limits, and their rich, wild language of love.

Her writing sometimes made me nervous (for all the ways hearts can leap an
Nov 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: western
I reread The Bingo Palace with hopes of inching it into four star territory. But upon second reading, I still can’t in good conscience give the novel anything but three. The first half of the book is great. It positions at the center of the narrative a good old-fashioned love story that begins at a pow-wow which the author describes wonderfully, where the two protagonists meet and Lipsha develops his all-consuming passion for Shawnee Ray. Erdrich keeps this love story central while she whirls th ...more
Jul 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: yanks, read-in-2015
Very boring indeed! I struggled through the first forty pages, where too many different characters were introduced and then sort of left hanging. Thereafter, most of the book was about a young man who got infatuated by a girl. This part was really dragged out and nothing much happened. Then the end section reverted back to all the other people who had been introduced at the outset.

Technically, the problem with the book was that it was disjointed, that the main protagonist was not in the least b
I have a favorable impression now that I've finished, but in the beginning I really wondered if I would like this. There are so many characters within the first ten or so pages and I absolutely could not keep them straight - especially since they are all inter-related in various ways. As the book went on, I figured out which ones mattered here and ignored the rest, but before I got to that point I did a lot of looking back. I wonder if this problem would have been less apparent if I had read the ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Matt by: Laura Furlan
Required reading for Am. Ind. Lit., Prof. Laura Furlan, UMASS-Amherst.

Erdrich is good. I'd only read "Love Medicine" before this, and didn't remember enjoying it as much as this, but I was probably just being a wiener when I read "Love Medicine".

I was surprised with all the comparisons Erdrich gets to Faulkner, but I see it, and agree with it in the sense of creating a fictional place and characters and using them across a decade plus of novels.

Erdrich is real
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all great storytellers, Erdrich's work speaks to a universal human experience of love, loss, and family, but is told through a unique and singular lens
Bill H.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this as a sequel to Love Medicine, interested in what happened to two of the younger characters--Lyman and Lipsha--featured toward the end of that novel. Both work in the bingo palace of the title and both are after one Shawnee Red. Lipsha's sections dominate the book, which is arranged in chronological order. The problem is that his musings, meditations, and actions mark him as an exasperating and hapless character; one has to work to remain sympathetic with him. The lively character sto ...more
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, fiction
The masochist in me has developed a strange yearning for Erdrich when the blistering winter chill starts to scrape St. Louis. Not that this place gets nearly as cold and for not nearly as long as her Dakota climes, but there's such a mysteriously gratifying level of sympathy, longing, and ironic warmth I get out of her world. I think this started when I read most of Tracks one December day three years ago, smothered in blankets next to a drafty window in a former apartment, when my heat had gone out d ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
You know, I think I'm just going to give up on Louise Erdrich. I liked The Master Butcher's Singing Club, and was okay with The Beet Queen and with parts of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. But with each of her books, it's a chore for me to read. It takes weeks, if longer occasionally. I pick them up and put them down. Sometimes, I'm rewarded with a line like "In her eyes I see the force of her love. It is bulky and hard to carry, like a package that keeps untying." (The Beet ...more
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The fourth in a quartet of related novels, The Bingo Palace features Lipsha Morrissey, the son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush, characters from all of the interconnected families in Erdrich's previous books. The Bingo Palace is the main symbol of the story - a structure planned for a site on an Objiwe reservation - a site considered sacred to Native Americans. The bingo palace is a double-edged sword in that it will benefit the tribe financially at the same time that it will destroy another p ...more
Lipsha, this protagonist, was a side character in her earlier novels and I'd be inclined to keep him there. But Erdrich is a lot smarter than I am. She is such a generous writer. That's the only word I can find for it. This is a book about a young man who is infatuated with a girl too good for him, a young man whose parents abandoned him to criminality and suicide, a young man who works in a casino and gambles his way to a new life, a young man who is every stereotype and none of them. She doesn ...more
Paula Hebert
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
in this fourth book of louise erdrick's we are once again taken back to the reservation. this time to watch modern day decendants of the clans, whose lives are so interwoven by marriages that everyone seems to be related. as they try to integrate the present and future, and still somehow honor their past traditions, all generations make decisions that have long term impact. filled with heartache, humor, love and the wisdom of the ages, it's a beautiful story that will stay with you long after yo ...more
Joshua Barsczewski
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I *think* this is usually considered to be one of Erdrich's lesser novels, but I think it has aged well and is the type of novel that rewards slow, patient reading. (Plus, I'd take a lesser Erdrich over 95% of everything else any day...if there's any justice in this world, she'll be the next U.S. writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.)
Celeste Trimble
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book made me sick in the way only powerful artworks can...Like that movie Love Liza, or that gambling movie also with Mr. Hoffman. The thought of trading away the most important things in your life, your culture, for a few minutes of gambling thrill makes me afraid for my own life. Maybe I am doing things just as stupid without realizing it, throwing away the things that are most important.
Jul 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
I loved her newer book "The Master Singing Butchers Club" ( or something like that) I found this book too depressing knowing when I got in a few pages that it was going to end badly. So I didn't even finish it and gave it to the Used Bookstore in Ashland Oregon!
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
*Awakened to the shattered window and rattling black spines of last year's sunflowers.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erdrich is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa), and it is among the people of this nation that The bingo palace is set. One of the reasons the novel captured my attention all those years ago is because when we lived in the USA, we became aware of the importance of gambling as a major source of income for many Native American communities. Erdrich’s narrative draws from this fact, but it also provides her with the “luck” or “chance” metaphor – “the drift of chance ...more
Cynthia Vengraitis
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this novel but sometimes found it very frustrating. The story of Lipsha who is drawn back to the reservation in North Dakota after living in Fargo is part of the series which included The Beet Queen and Love Medicine. The beautifully written story is fantastical and mystical at times which makes it sometimes hard to know what is really happening. I read some other books in the series years ago (this one was written in 1994) so it was harder to keep track of the characters and try to reme ...more
Susan Haines
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Erdrich is a favorite author of mine, and if I had heard the plot of the book and narration style described before reading it, I would have been all in. But something didn't work for me. I almost think the book needed to be a couple hundred pages longer in order to accomplish the fleshing out of all the characters involved. I like the "Orange is the New Black"-style of devoting different chapters to the backgrounds of different characters who intermingle, but there were just so many, and at time ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book but I have three observations about the book and if you have not read it, please do not read my observations that follow.
1. Why does Lipsha go of by himself after he won the van and then it becomes destroyed, it seems as though he wants bad things to happen to him.
2. Why does he tell Lyman about his bingo winnings and then does nothing when he finds out that Lyman has stolen all of his money.
3. Does he die in the end in the car? It surely seems as though he
Jojanneke S
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Lipsha, I really wish he were a real person. As ever, Erdrich's characters are very memorable and she manages to sketch them in subtle and unusual ways. Fleur Pillager continues to fascinate me, and the ways these family members handle each other keeps me coming back to Erdrich's work. In some ways I wish this novel had been all about Lipsha and had been greater in scope, beyond his attempts to get Shawnee Ray to love him, because I think there's more to get from Lipsha's characters, but ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful novel about hope, dreams, the clash of the contemporary and the past, the sacred and the secular. I loved returning to the world Erdrich created in this cycle of novels. I've read Love Medicine a handful of times (I teach it in senior IB literature) and I will always revere it as one of her best, but I love reading beyond it as well, and I love the interconnectedness of stories and characters. Every time I read her work it feels like going home.
Sarah Rigg
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-authors
Erdrich is one of my favorite authors, and I've gone out of my way to seek out almost everything she's written. I love her lyrical writing and the way she interweaves a lot of characters' stories. In this novel, I had a few minor nitpicks about style (for instance, she's writing from the viewpoint of a 20-something young man, and he makes some observations that sound more like a 30-year-old woman's) but I really liked it.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the story, and enjoyed the writing. This is the third book in a 7 book series, so I would have preferred to have read the previous books first to get more background on some of the characters in this book.
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-star-books
Beautiful soulful writing. Not as fulfilling a read as some of her later work. But still VG.
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Play Book Tag: The Bingo Palace by Louise Erdrich - 4.5 stars rounded up 5 19 Sep 03, 2017 10:43AM  

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Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa). She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renais ...more

Other books in the series

Love Medicine (7 books)
  • Love Medicine
  • Tracks
  • Tales of Burning Love
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
  • Four Souls
  • The Painted Drum
“We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try.” 902 likes
“Cold sinks in, there to stay. And people, they'll leave you, sure. There's no return to what was and no way back. There's just emptiness all around, and you in it, like singing up from the bottom of a well, like nothing else, until you harm yourself, until you are a mad dog biting yourself for sympathy. Because there is no relenting.” 47 likes
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